You might have heard some people talking about alternative tunings using A=432, A=440, A=444, and the list goes on.
However, it is not imperative that you read up on this. Most instruments in North America and Europe are tuned to A=440. 95% of the instruments that we sell are A=440. However, if you have been reading up on the alternative tuning of 432, I suggest that you read the articles below. Much of the information on the internet can be misinformed, or simply copied out of context.
Do your research, stay informed and then make your decision.
What Does A=440 or A=432 Mean?
A=440 means that the A note in the fourth octave sings at 440 hertz (cycles) per second.
This is the most popular tuning, and it is used throughout the world. This allows musicians from any country to play together and to sound in tune with each other. This creates beautiful music.
A=432 means that the A note in the fourth octave sings at 432 hertz (cycles) per second. This difference means that it will be a tiny bit lower.
Over the years, people have made claims that this tuning system is more natural and healing, because it is based on nature's Schuman Resonance (where the number of hertz has been rounded up) and the ancient Pythagorean scale. This all sounds wonderful. But the potential healing powers of this scale are not the issue here.
The issue is that if you tune your instrument using the Pythagorean scale or the rounded up number of the Schuman Resonance (432) your instrument will only sound nice in one key. Once you try to change keys, which I promise you will, things will sound out of tune (to hear this difference, watch the first video posted below). In the early 1700s, Bach (a world famous composer) introduced the frequent use of sharps and flats into compositions. This new adaptation forced musicians to realize that the Pythagorean scale just didn't work anymore. Thus, the equal temperament system was created.
So what about the 432 instruments that you can buy today? Well, most 432 tuned instruments sold today are using the traditional Equal Temperament system, which is different than the Pythagorean scale or the Schuman Resonance (the intervals between notes are different). So that defeats the claim from above that "A=432 is more healing because it is based on the Schuman Resonance and the Pythagorean scale"- it is a completely different tuning system than the 432 instruments being sold today.
That doesn't mean A=432 isn't good, or that it isn't healing. It is simply a bit lower in sound... and if you like that, that is great! Just don't buy into the 432 tuning because of the supposed use of the Pythagorean scale or the Schuman Resonance. Remember, they have nothing to do with the 432 tuned singing bowls sold on the market today.
There are many different tunings used today for a variety of instruments including A=442 and A=444 (which are used by some concert musicians). To read more about this here are two great articles.
Authentic Sound Examples of 432 Tuning
People who are pro-432 tuning talk about Pythagoris, and the Schumann Resonance, and they use that math to create 432 tuning. This math looks great on paper, and might work if you stayed in only one key, but that is not the reality of crystal singing bowls or most of the music that we make. If you want to change keys, which we do all the time with the bowls, then you need to use a tuning of Equal Temperament. So when you purchase instruments or music in 432, most likely you are not getting the Pythagorian Scale, nor is it based on Schumann resonance (which is constantly fluctuating). Instead you are getting the traditional tuning but flattened. Confused? Not to worry.
Adam shows us exactly what each of these alternative tunings sounds like. Decide for yourself.
Theoretical Understanding about 432 Tuning
I love how this video starts.... Adam starts by repeating all that is said on the internet and in courses about how "432 is the best". He even shows an example that makes you think 432 tuning is better than 440 tuning. However, he then puts the breaks on in the video and changes direction, showing you the real difference between the two tunings.
Fact From Fiction
There are many articles presenting so-called “scientific evidence” in favor of 432 Hz. But how much of what are being presented with is fact, and how much of it is fiction? Let’s find out!
The 432 Tuning Debate
Most of the world now uses 440 Hz as the standard pitch tuning. However, this has been a relatively recent standard, and 432 Hz is making a comeback. Lynda Arnold explores why with sound examples.